The terrorists won

**********I wrote this back in May, but wasn’t sure whether or not to publish it…several months later and I think I’m ok to share it now*************

I hate to say it but the terrorists beat me. Well not wholly, but they made me change what I would normally do. I admit that when I was in Brussels last week I had an afternoon off work and rather than head into the town center for the obligatory sightseeing, I stayed in my hotel room and binged on British TV.  Why? Because knowing that this week was well known for Trump and other heads of state visiting Brussels for a meeting with NATO I decided it was prime time for an attack. It’s ridiculous really that this was driving me to make a decision to NOT go out. It’s the first time that’s happened to me, and I hate it because I feel like they finally got to me.

Having said that, I did go back to Brussels airport departures where the attack happened. I couldn’t real avoid it and had to face it. On my own too. As I queued to check in, I recollected that day and the terrifying events. I was queuing not far from where the first bomb went off. My heart raced and I looked around at everyone near me. I wasn’t sure I could stand there waiting for much longer. I felt vulnerable and suddenly exhausted. The departures floor looked the same but different to before the attacks. The queue started moving and I stopped thinking about that day and moved on. I took a picture from where I stood in the aftermath of the bombs and rather stupidly had taken a photo. I wanted to compare.

Brussels airport has a new improved security check which meant I moved through quickly, but only two customs security officers which meant a huge queue to get to the gates. An American in front of me turned and said ‘I don’t want to sound like a privileged American, but this line is ridiculous’. I said to him, ‘do you remember the attacks last year? Wouldn’t you want it to be slower if it meant more secure?’ He looked apologetic. Then I realised…again they had won. The damage had already been done.

Thinking about the suicide attack in Manchester got me wondering about the terrorist’s chosen venue and victims. Those caught up in the events who lived to see the day like I did, they are young and impressionable. They probably never cared about politics, international affairs or the threat of ISIS. But this week they do. And if they feel like me they will be inspired to prevent the terror from spreading to more innocent lives. I have thought seriously about how I can do something in my line of work. And yet, there I was hiding away in my hotel room rather than enjoying the beautiful sights of Brussels. It’s messed up. What kind of world will Aviana live in in 20 years time? Will this be the norm? Or will this be a historic period she will study as a tumultuous past?

What a difference a year makes

After the second explosion I remember turning around to see an old lady cowering behind her suitcase. The fear in her eyes was immense, she was terrified. OK we all were terrified, but it was her who I vividly remember the most. I asked her if she was OK, was she hurt, but she didn’t understand me – probably because I was speaking English when I was in Brussels airport. 
I remember that moment today one year later after the Brussels terror attacks, not because it was the one year anniversary(?) but because of the terror attacks in London yesterday. I heard today that another person died from his injuries – a 75 year old man. It made me think of the old lady in Brussels. It then made me reflect about how different my life is today one year on. 
One year ago I was also in the midst of down regulation for my upcoming 3rd IVF cycle. The one thing I thought of alongside figuring out how to get out of the airport alive was my medicine…I NEED MY MEDICINE! Looking back now it was daft to carry my bags with me, I should have left them behind. But all I could think of was needing to take my next injection. Not even a damned terrorist was going to stop me from this IVF cycle! And now here I am, one year later back in the UK with my beautiful 3 month old daughter, Aviana, the outcome of that cycle. 
One year ago if you told me my future I wouldn’t have believed you. On the edge of quitting, I somehow felt strength from adversity. I’m so glad I didn’t quit because I can’t imagine my life without Aviana in it.

Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.

-Walter Anderson
And so Life goes on. I will continue to fight terrorism and I will continue to fight the disease that is infertility with all of you.